NewswireToday - /newswire/ -
Minneapolis, MN, United States, 2007/01/05 - SoftCap, a new product from Athletica, is a flexible plastic cover that sits on top of rink dasher boards. It absorbs impact 96% better than the material previously used, according to NHL testing - Athletica.com / IntekPlastics.com.
Bone rattling board collisions are an inevitable part of life for hockey players. This season, however, more NHL players will skate away without serious injuries thanks to a new product from Minnesota-based Athletica, a leading provider of rink systems.
SoftCap is a flexible plastic cover that sits on top of rink dasher boards. Designed and produced by Intek Plastics, the product uses hollow channels to absorb impact 96% better than the material previously used, according to NHL testing. The league expects SoftCap will reduce head, chin, elbow and other injuries and has approved the product for all team arenas. The New York Islanders was the first team to install the product and several more orders have followed.
Partnership Brings Product to Life
Athletica, which supplies 75% of NHL dasher boards, developed an initial concept for SoftCap in April. To design and produce the product in time for the fast-approaching NHL season, Athletica looked to Intek Plastics, another Minnesota company and an expert in extruding complex plastic products.
Athletica and Intek collaborated to devise a product design that accomplished their goals for safety, aesthetics and ease of installation while minimizing any effect on play.
“Knowledge and skill in plastics were vital to create this product,” observed Joel Rhode, applications engineer for Intek Plastics. “It allowed us to produce the intricate product design with superior quality.”
A High Performance Solution
SoftCap is manufactured from Santoprene, a flexible, colorable plastic that performs well in cold conditions. In addition to absorbing impact, the design evolved into a four-piece, modular system that would compensate for rink variations and allow for installation in any NHL arena. A friction-reducing coating was also added.
According to Athletica engineer Matt Palumbo, the project was a success. “The product offers everything we hoped for in terms of safety and adaptability to all rinks,” noted Palumbo. “It was very well-received by the NHL.”
Coming Soon to a Rink Near You
When SoftCap is released for full production in the coming year, Athletica plans to make it available to NCAA, high school and recreational rinks.
Benefiting from four decades of industry experience, Athletica (athletica.com) builds world-class sport solutions, including Crystaplex ice hockey rinks and arena products, Border Patrol Permanent and Portable in-line hockey rinks and GamePlex multi-sport rinks. As a Preferred Rink Equipment Supplier to the NHL, Athletica’s ice dasher systems are found in most NHL arenas and in over 3,000 rink systems worldwide. Athletica strives to improve the game through service, safety and innovation with patents and patents pending on several of its products. It is committed to providing high-quality products customers can trust at an affordable value. Headquartered in Minneapolis, Athletica can also be found online.
About Intek Plastics
Intek Plastics engineers, extrudes and fabricates custom plastic extrusions for medium to large OEMs requiring unique, high-performance solutions. Scale and sophistication allow Intek to serve any industry with world-class manufacturing, including construction, refrigeration, agriculture, recreation, appliance, telecommunications, point of purchase and transportation.
Founded in 1961, Intek Plastics (intekplastics.com) is a privately held company with two facilities 30 minutes south of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. More than 350 Intek associates work together to create value for customers through their commitment to continuous improvement.